Scheduled Caste Population in Punjab

An Overview

    As per Census-2011, the State of Punjab, has the highest percentage of Scheduled Caste population amongst all the States of the Country. The Scheduled Caste population in Punjab is 88.60 lac which is 31.94% of the total population (277.43 lac) of the State. Punjab accounts for 2.3% of the total population and 4.3% Scheduled Caste population of India. The decennial growth rate of SC population in the State was 26.06% as compared to 13.89 % for the State as a whole. However, a sizeable number of SC families still live below the poverty line.

    According to the survey conducted by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats for rural areas in the year, 2002 and the State urban Development agency (SUDA) in urban areas in , 2004, out of the total 5.23 lac families living below the poverty line, 3.21 lac families belong to the Scheduled Castes which constitutes 61.38% of the total families below the poverty line in the State. As per Agricultural Census 2010-11, the number of operational holdings with SCs are 63,480 spreading over an area of 1,26,966 hectares comprising 6.02% and 3.20% of the total land holdings and area of the State, respectively. Major bulk (85.54%) of these holdings are unviable being less than the size of 5 hectares.

    The Scheduled Caste population is predominantly rural by residence. As per Census 2011, the majority of the SC people (73.33% ) live in the rural area, whereas, 26.67% SC people reside in the urban area of the State. The distribution of SC population among the districts of the State indicates that percentage of SC persons is high in the districts of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (42.51%), Sri Muktsar Sahib (42.31%), Firozpur (42.17%), Jalandhar (38.95%), Faridkot (38.92%), Moga (36.50%), Hoshiarpur (35.14%), Kapurthala (33.94%), Tarn Taran (33.71%), Mansa (33.63%), Bathinda(32.44%), Barnala (32.24%) and Fatehgarh Sahib (32.07%). This is to say that in majority of the districts in Punjab have one third or more of their population belongs to the Scheduled Castes. Out of the total 12,168 inhabited villages in the State, 57 villages have 100% SC population and 4,799 villages (39.44%) have 40% or more SC population. The village/tehsil/district wise detail of villages having 40% or more SC population is given in Part-IV (II) of the document. Among 217 towns, 175 towns have 20% or more SC population, and majority of them are either small towns or census towns.

    As per Census 2011, the literacy rate among SCs is 64.81% as compared to total literacy rate of 75.84% of the State and 73.00% of the Country as a whole. The female literacy rate of SCs at 58.39% in the State also lags behind that of total 70.73% of the State. However, it is better than the SC female literacy rate at 56.46% of the Country. The SC male literacy rate at 70.66% of the State is also lower than the total male literacy rate of 80.44% in the State.

    Out of the total SC population, SC labour force constitutes 35.88%, out of which, 79.20% and 20.80% are main and marginal workers respectively. The majority of this segment of society are agricultural labourers or are engaged in low wage and arduous occupation. The State Government is committed to uplift this under privileged section of the society by improving the socio economic and educational development by providing them with technical skills for vocational jobs and link their present occupation/activity with the larger activity.

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